Challenges Faced By Bme Students Nursing Essay

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This chapter draws on the conclusions of the study. An interpretation of the research findings, how these links to existing literature and how they have possibly contributed to the existing body of knowledge in this field will be presented. Limitations of the study will be discussed and recommendations for future research will be outlined in relation to the findings of the research. Implications for practice will also be highlighted.

Research Summary

The study aimed to explore the views and experiences of MHPs on the challenges faced by BME students on placement in mental health practice.

Research Questions

The research questions that guided the study were:

What are the challenges faced by BME students on placement in mental health practice?

What do MHPs perceive as barriers to the successful completion of BME students placements?

What hinders MHPs from coping with these barriers?

What assists MHPs to cope with the barriers their students face?

What are the challenges faced by BME students on placement in mental health practice?

Research evidence has indicated that supportive placements positively influence BME students' placement outcomes (Loftin et al., 2012; Davis, 2010; Amaro et al., 2006; Chambers and Alexis, 2004). Furthermore, earlier research studies and findings from this research indicated that cultural competence remains a significant factor in challenging barriers that hinder effective mentoring of BME students in mental health practice (Loftus and Duty, 2010; Amaro et al., 2006; Chambers and Alexis, 2004; Yoder, 1996).

Accordingly, literature and this research study undoubtedly established that the intensity and nature of challenges faced by BME students are shaped by the personal and professional socialisation of different individuals (Loftus and Duty, 2010; Amaro et al., 2006; Villarruel et al., 2001; Yoder, 1996).

What do MHPs perceive as barriers to the successful completion of BME students placements?

In the study most MHPs highlighted on how a lot of the challenges were apparent in relation to the lack of organisational support and cultural awareness for practitioners. As such, the research findings could be said that they are in line with the literature supporting this subject (Loftin et al., 2012; Davis, 2010; Chambers and Alexis, 2004; Papadopoulos et al., 2004). The barriers that hindered effective teaching and mentoring of BME students included lack of support from employers and universities, lack of cultural competence, time constraints, communication difficulties and diversity issues. Furthermore, most of these barriers were in line with other studies conducted in America, Australia and in the UK (Loftin et al., 2012; Davis, 2010; Amaro et al., 2006; Chambers and Alexis, 2004; Papadopoulos et al., 2004; Yoder, 1996).

What hinders MHPs from coping with these barriers?

The study findings showed that perceived barriers were less among some BME MHPs as compared to non BME MHPs that participated in the study (Loftin et al., 2012; Amaro et al., 2006). This further asserted Amaro et al., (2006) and Papadopoulos et al. (2004)'s findings that indicated that BME students related better to practitioners of the same ethnicity as them. Indeed, findings indicated that although MHPs experienced numerous barriers, they also coped by their own determination and self motivation (Loftin et al., 2012; Amaro et al., 2006). The individual's professional and personal responsibility over their students, facilitated effective and successful outcomes for the students as MHPs felt that it was their duty to support them. However, all MHPs reported that strategies to encounter barriers that hindered effective teaching and mentoring needed to come from their organisation rather than from individual practitioners. MHPs expressed that the Trust did not fully support them and this left them frustrated and helpless at times.

These findings are also in line with other international studies (Loftin et al., 2012; Thomas et al., 2007; Amaro et al., 2006; Girves et al., 2005; Papadopoulos et al., 2004; Culley, 1996).

What assists MHPs to cope with the barriers their students face?

Additionally, the study findings indicated that despite encountering barriers in their practice there were other factors that facilitated MHPs to cope (Amaro et al., 2006; Papadopoulos et al., 2004). BME students' challenges being evident in mental health practice, the availability of support from their peers and cultural awareness helped to empower practitioners in their role. Arguably, through engaging and consulting with their colleagues, MHPs gained further support in their mentoring roles as they continued to receive important information on BME issues. Other benefits such as liaising with other professionals within their teams were reported as emotional and professional support which MHPs felt had not forth coming from their employers and the university.

According to (Amaro et al., 2006; Papadopoulos et al., 2004), cultural competence is arguably of paramount importance in addressing challenges that are perceived by and for BME students in mental health practice. The study findings showed that the issues of culture were highlighted by almost all participants. These were also stated to be the major reasons that hindered MHPs from effectively carrying out their related roles. Furthermore, the sensitive nature of BME issues placed some MHPs in difficult positions and specifically the non BME MHPs. MHPs expressed that they were always mindful not to say things that could have been seen as insensitive to BME students as well as other BME groups. Although all the participants reported having support from each other as practitioners findings showed that MHPs still felt that issues relating to equality and diversity were far too sensitive and complicated to be left to individuals to deal with.

Despite many Mental Health Trusts stating that Equality and Diversity is at the heart of their agenda, MHPs felt these were not being addressed effectively. The issues of culture and diversity are still operational in practice and as such, there is need for a robust approach in order to improve the current situation for BME students. However, the fact that some MHPs viewed BME support groups as helpful, this could mean that with appropriate service improvements, positive outcomes can be possible.

In respect to the research questions of this study, findings revealed the challenges faced by BME students on placement in mental health practice. The findings also revealed the barriers and factors that hindered or facilitated effective teaching and mentoring of BME students by practitioners. Finally, the relationship between issues related to equality, diversity and positive placement outcomes was discussed in several studies. Above all, all the participants related the major benefits of culture awareness and sensitivity to BME issues.

To conclude, findings in this study highlighted that in order to address equality and diversity in mental health practice, it is important to have sensitive services for BME groups and specifically for students who are tomorrow's practitioners. These services and support need to be which are acceptable and appreciated by BME groups.


Based on the findings of the study, it is vital that the researcher proposes an improvement on current measures in order to improve BME students' placement outcomes. The need for ongoing effective communication and provision of information on BME issues is paramount. Raising cultural awareness and other issues regarding equality and diversity in mental health practice will improve and facilitate successful students' placement outcomes. Furthermore, the students' placements and universities are better placed in order to support BME students to persevere and successfully complete their studies. Continued cultural awareness is important to support practitioners to facilitate the "bridging" approach (Amaro et al., 2006; Yoder, 1996) when engaging with BME students. Additionally MHPs must be mindful of the effect their words and actions exert on BME students. Arguably professionals can both facilitate or hinder students' successful placement outcomes.

It is also important to highlight that student training programmes could work alongside BME professional groups in order to establish and maintain specific BME student groups as well as all inclusive groups. As such, professionals should be able to actively encourage BME students to take part and contribute in them. In addition, the participants in the study identified this need for teachers and mentors.

Issues around effective communication due to language difficulties were also highlighted by MHPs. A considerable amount of effort should be made in order to engage students both professionally and socially for further cohesion of groups. Practitioners could support the formation of work peer groups. User friendly support groups and professional supervision for BME students should be made available on placements.

Finally, it is felt from this study that the NHS Trust's students' support services were not culturally sensitive. It can then be argued that there is still a Eurocentric lens on students support services that can aid discrimination of BME students. It is also appreciated that several NHS organisations and universities in the UK have considered the inequalities between the number of BME groups and the number of BME practitioners providing care as a priority. In order to be able to meet this challenge, it is recommended that BME forums for both practitioners and students are established and maintained in organisations. These forums would help the development of programmes to retain BME students on completion of their training. This could also facilitate students' follow up on their training through provision of appropriate consultation and information for practitioners to support them. As supported by the research findings, BME students face challenges in mental health placements. By seeking to understand their unique issues and needs, NHS organisations may be able to retain BME health care professionals in order to meet the health care needs of multicultural communities.

Research Limitations

The researcher acknowledged that there were some limitations while conducting the study and these were managed as appropriate where possible (as discussed in chapter 3). In the study data limitation could be apparent for the data from both phases of the study were subjective and based on the participants' and the researcher's interpretation of issues. The researcher also utilised collective terms to describe ethnicity. Arguably, by further breaking this down, it may allow identification of issues pertaining to specific individual ethnic groups. The research study employed a purposeful sampling strategy for selecting participants. This could be a limitation for the results can only be related or transferable to similar settings but cannot be generalised to the whole population.

Implications to Practice

The findings of the research study highlighted that the study was important for the NHS Trust and also for MHPs working with BME students. The study signifies the importance of non discriminatory practice as to limit differential treatment of BME groups. Practitioners need to be aware of equality and diversity issues as well as striving to work in anti-oppressive manner. The findings revealed that issues relating to culture and diversity are significant barriers to effective teaching and mentoring of BME students in mental health practice. This calls for all agencies involved to challenge inequalities and creatively work towards the notion of social justice (Thompson, 1997).


Given the huge proportion of BME representation in the locality of the research study, the issue of diversity should be high on the agenda for many NHS Trusts. On the other hand, in the UK diverse communities continue to increase significantly and as such BME health care workers are needed to provide care for this dynamic population. NHS organisations and universities have a significant role in supporting BME students to achieve success in their training. In implementing their policies, NHS organisations and universities should consider the marginal voices of BME groups and specifically those of BME students so as to meet their needs.

This final chapter has discussed the whole research study, its findings and how these may have contributed to current literature and knowledge on the topic. Recommendations and implications for future practice were also presented.